Power Company Could Deliver Broadband Connections

A microwave link on St Martin's

Broadband connections to the Isles of Scilly could, in the future, be delivered by our power company.

Sharon Cross from Western Power Distribution told us that equipment being installed in the substations as part of the smart grid programme could be used for delivery of broadband to residents and businesses.

The company has also installed high power microwave links to the mainland at Telegraph.

Surf Telecom, a telecommunications company owned by Western Power and based in Taunton, has built a substantial fibre optic cable network across Southwest England and South Wales.

They recently ran a trial to distribute fibre-optic broadband over electricity poles to the rural South Wales community of Crumlin near Caerphilly.

Sharon told us that Surf Telecom is installing the communications equipment to meet the needs of the smart grid programme and are not an Internet Service Provider, or ISP, so would not deliver broadband services to individual premises on the islands in the future.

However, she said if approached by an ISP to provide connectivity to the islands then “there is every possibility that it could provide that connectivity service.”

Our Council is a partner, along with BT and Cornwall Council, in the Superfast Cornwall programme which is aiming to bring fibre optic-based broadband to at least 80% of the population in Scilly and Cornwall by the end of 2014 at a total cost of £132m, £53m of which is coming from the EU.

However, to date, BT have been tight-lipped on how they will bring superfast broadband to the islands and what speeds can be expected (see our story here).


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